Bioregion, history, wildlife

Daily access to nature is increasingly recogonized as essential for healthy body, mind and spirit, and especially for children. Having a strong connection with place is an essential foundation for more environmentally sustainable behaviours.

Bioregion, history, wildlife

This bioregion represents the northern extension of open grassland in Saskatchewan, and is dominated by agriculture. This area is part of the moist mixed grasslands. Native vegetation is mostly confined to non-arable pasture lands, mixed grass prairie, where spear grasses and gamma and wheat grasses grow naturally, sedges and herbs. Shrubs like chokecherry, snowberry, rose and wolf willow are common. Aspen groves are found around sloughs and other wet areas.

Quarter horses grazing on the property a few years back.

History

Quarter horses grazing on the property a few years back.

This area having a multiple bluffs and the large forested patch, was long known as a summer destination for First Nations harvesting Saskatoon berries. The treed patch extending to the adjacent property to the south was identified as a long time winter camp for First Nations peoples, as many artifacts have been found there, now in the collection of the Western Development Museum.* The date of homesteading for this property is not known. It was farmed for decades by the Millar family, with the large treed patch known by residents in the region as “Millar’s bluff”. (One of two large treed patches in the area.) Long time residents of the area recall that farm families for miles around would come to collect firewood here. Having vegetative cover this property received blown topsoil in the 1930s. Being marginally farmed, portions of the property remained uncultivated for long periods, particularly parcels D, E, F, H, and J. The property supported grain and hay cultivation, horses and a few beef cattle grazing for some years. The wooded areas and prairie were conserved. The property has plenty of saskatoons, chokecheery, and a few pin cherry bushes. Saskatoons are abundant most years. In the past years over 3000 trees and shrubs have been added as shelterbelt and habitat enhancement.

*In spite of having undertaken the waterline, road construction and utility trenching, only a few signs of early occupation have been found on our property.

Bioregion, history, wildlife

Some of our simple "bee hotels" for solitary leaf-cutter and mason bees.

Whitetail deer are regular visitors to the property.

Wildlife

Whitetail deer are regular visitors to the property.

This property has been predominantly agricultural chemical free (herbicides or pesticides) since at least 1981. In 2016 we made a targeted application of RoundUp to reduce weed competition to a portion of the new shelter belt growth.

We encourage parcel owners to use natural/organic management methods wherever possible. Information on these methods is available from various sources. A recent indicator of the impacts of agricultural chemical use is the drastic decline of wild and domestic bees. We have started to build solitary bee (mason) ‘hotels’ to support a local population of pollinators, so the many Saskatoon, Chokecherry, Pincherry and other shrubs on the property will be pollinated and bear fruit. We are expanding the fruit bearing habitat for wildlife. The soil is good quality, sandy loam. The property is very well drained, and somewhat higher than surrounding area. We have experienced no issues with any high water occurring in recent years. The only surface water briefly present is temporary in the new road ditches designed to capture and infiltrate runoff and meltwater between the approaches, as eventual raingardens. We are seeking to establish regenerative and more sustainable practices, not high maintenance exotic horticultural approaches. Prospective buyers wanting a full turf and formal estate appearance could seek property elsewhere. More information on organic and xeriscape gardening can be found in the Links section.

Native trees, bush and meadow provide good habitat.

Habitat

Native trees, bush and meadow provide good habitat.

This property has been predominantly agricultural chemical free (herbicides or pesticides) since at least 1981. In 2016 we made a targeted application of RoundUp to reduce weed competition to a portion of the new shelter belt growth.

We encourage parcel owners to use natural/organic management methods wherever possible. Information on these methods is available from various sources. A recent indicator of the impacts of agricultural chemical use is the drastic decline of wild and domestic bees. We have started to build solitary bee (mason) ‘hotels’ to support a local population of pollinators, so the many Saskatoon, Chokecherry, Pincherry and other shrubs on the property will be pollinated and bear fruit. We are expanding the fruit bearing habitat for wildlife. The soil is good quality, sandy loam. The property is very well drained, and somewhat higher than surrounding area. We have experienced no issues with any high water occurring in recent years. The only surface water briefly present is temporary in the new road ditches designed to capture and infiltrate runoff and meltwater between the approaches, as eventual raingardens. We are seeking to establish regenerative and more sustainable practices, not high maintenance exotic horticultural approaches. Prospective buyers wanting a full turf and formal estate appearance could seek property elsewhere. More information on organic and xeriscape gardening can be found in the Links section.